Animal Love Lessons

Animal Love Lessons

Few things that the my favorite animals taught me about pure and primal love
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When you are a relationship expert, it seems there is no escaping love lessons. Whether I go to a playground, the circus, the grocery store, or the laundromat, I'm always picking up jewels of relationship wisdom. But my visit to the San Diego Zoo this weekend may have trumped them all. Every stop along the way served up some sort of lesson in love. By studying the simplicity of our furry, feathered and scaly friends, I noticed how our complicated lives unnecessarily complicate our love lives. The animals at the zoo just get it. They have such an unpolluted way of taking care of themselves and of each other. Of course they don't have jobs, dreams, taxes to pay and a zillion other things that can distract them from focusing on what really matters, but even still I think it is worthwhile, to stop and observe the methods of a few favorite animals and see what learnings you can extract and apply to your own ways of love. To get you started, here are a few things that my favorite animals taught me about pure and primal love this weekend:

Orangutans prioritize play.

These red-haired, spaghetti-armed primates live to be silly. Constantly swinging from ropes, flipping over branches, playing peek a boo and tugging on each other’s beards just to crack a smile out of one other, these guys are always looking for a reason to have fun.

Love lesson learned: Relationships need a good dose of teasing, taunting and a lot of fun!

Ducks believe in loyalty.

One of the few monogamous creatures in the animal kingdom, family first is the motto of the duck. Whether on land or in water, ducks always stick together and appear to be harmonious while doing so. They wait for each other when one is slower, always looking out for each other's best interest.

Love lesson learned: Commitment is simply a decision to go the distance with your chosen one, no matter what.

Pandas snuggle for snuggle’s sake.

Of all the animals at the zoo, the pandas get the most oohs and aahs because they are the cuddliest. Constantly snuggling with each other, and not just at the baby stage, they appear to need the warmth offered when close to one another. That warmth projects outwards and can be felt between sets of bears.

Love lesson learned: Snuggling does the body and spirit good.

Monkeys appreciate sex!

The monkeys were in high heat this weekend, getting busy for their passerbys. No quarters needed for these cage shows either as these furry creatures were all about exhibitionist displays of love. Furthermore, they did not shy away from experimental positioning or dominant and submissive role sharing.

Love lesson learned: Free and frequent sex is a must!

Gorillas meditate daily.

During my ten-minute visit to the gorilla exhibit, the grown-ups were all in yoga-like poses, deeply meditating on who knows what. Perfectly peaceful, these amazing creatures were unfazed by the crowds and each other… until the two little ones came to flip over their ‘do not disturb’ signs, at which point the adults happily engaged with their children, seemingly recharged.

Love lesson learned: Members of a relationship need to be internally balanced and properly rejuvenated to be the best partner they can be.

Polar Bears place value on patience.

My visit included multiple feeding times and the polar bears (the most revered exhibit at this zoo) were inarguably the most patient . They waited calmly for their zookeeper and were kind upon being fed, taking each scrap delicately and appreciatively.

Love lesson learned: Good things are worth waiting for.

Giraffes are unselfish.

I watched a mama giraffe in all of her long-legged glory pass down leaves to her little-legged baby. On two instances she went to feed herself but her baby nudged at her wanting to be fed so she handed her, her leaves. The baby then nuzzled with the mama giraffe in appreciation.

Love lesson learned: When you truly someone, giving is oftentimes more of a gift than receiving.

Peacocks are honorable.

The peacocks at this zoo roam free and often in pairs. When a security vehicle turned a corner, the male peacock reactively fanned its beautiful feathers in all of their glory, protecting the female and announcing to the driver to stop until its lady could pass. An absolutely honorable and chivalrous display that melted my heart!

Love lesson learned: A lady should expect to be treated like a lady.

Hyenas understand forgiveness.

When food was tossed in the hyena pit, the two cats aggressively went after it – only one prevailed, leaving the other hungry and angry. Seconds later though the winner approached the loser, nuzzled noses in a seemingly ‘forgive and forget’ gesture and the two were friendly again, strolling the pit side by side.

Love lesson learned: Life is too short to hold grudges.

Birds offer space.

Among the great variety of birds I saw at the zoo, one commonality was that they gave each other needed space. They would visit on a common branch, communicate and then one would flee for alone time. The cycle would then repeat all over again.

Love lesson learned: Healthy relationships need time together and breathing room.

When the animals seem to have it all right, sort of makes you rethink the term "dating jungle"... perhaps we make it more complicated than it needs to be...

Cover Image Credit: Flickr.com

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To The Guy Who Treated Me Like Crap

In many ways, I feel bad that you could never see how amazing I am.
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Dear (insert guy's name here),

I’m sorry that I acted as your footstool for so long. You treated me terribly, and for some reason, I couldn’t see that. I only saw you as someone who liked me and wanted to be with me (at least, that’s what I thought). I was like a little puppy dog following you around, completely loving and loyal. I was always waiting for you to text me, posting Snapchat stories for the sole purpose of knowing you would see them and always hoping you would come around when I was out with my friends so I could show you off.

No matter how hard I wanted us to work out, I now realize it never would have.

You weren’t right for me because you treated me like I was your inferior. You were always talking to other girls, flirting with them, and treating me like a child. You were so selfish. Only doing what you wanted and coming around when you felt like it and taking advantage of me. You made me feel crazy when I got mad at you for all the little things. I was so caught up in you that I tried to ignore all of the signals right in front of me.

You just weren’t right for me.

I now know that the right guy for me is the one who respects me and chooses me over everyone else. The guy who never makes me feel insane for questioning something, the guy who understands when he’s done something wrong and can live with the consequences. You just simply couldn’t provide that for me. In many ways, I feel bad that you could never see how amazing I am.

While I may have been so upset when our relationship ended, it made me realize who I am and what I deserve. I deserve so much more than someone putting in 50 percent. I deserve an endless amount of respect and communication. Putting in your all for a relationship when they can’t do the same is not healthy and it’s childish. I hope someday you can find a girl that you can love infinitely but I take a lot of pride in knowing that girl won’t be me. I may be single for a really long time or I may find the one tomorrow, either way, I have so much hope that one day someone can give me their all and make me feel incredible.

For now, I’m done wasting my time on guys like you who make me feel miserable.

Sincerely,
The One Who Got Away

Cover Image Credit: Trinity Kubassek

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15 Ways To Support Your Military Significant Other

The military is not like any other job.

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15 ways to support your significant other in the military. Being a MILSO is terrifying, lonely, and frustrating. Here are some tips to get by. YOU GOT THIS!

1. Understand that they will be busy

The military is not a 9-5 job with a lunch break. It could be drill or deployment, remember that they are going to be busy. He/she might not be able to call every night, text you, or answer your texts in a timely manner. They are busy, you should stay busy too.

2. The military is not a job, it is a lifestyle 

Unfortunately, you cannot pick and chose when you are a military spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. You are expected to act like a MILSO 24/7. You should support them 24/7 and be a listening ear when needed. Your SO does not have a normal job.

3. Become independent

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You will be away from your military significant other for days, weeks, months, or even a year+. This is overwhelming and exhausting. But think of it as an opportunity for you to gain independence, work on your own dreams, and become the person you want to be!

4. Trust, trust, and more trust

Do not take this one lightly. Being a significant other, in any relationship, means trust. You have to believe that they mean what they say. You have to trust them when they cannot answer your texts or calls. Believe that they are doing is important and you can wait.

5. Prepare for deployment

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Unfortunately, this is a very real side of being a MILSO. You never know where and when they are going to leave or for how long. Welcome to the roller coaster (;

6. Do not date them for the benefits 

The job is done because they love their country and want you to be safe, not for the military pay or benefits. It is not glamorous, or worth it just for the health insurance! Do it because you love them.

7. Become a support system

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Support them every day, through words, actions, and reassurance. This job is not easy. Do not be pushy with details. Let your significant other come to you when they are ready.

8. Lean on other MILSOs

Because nobody says you have to do it alone.

9. They are missing you too

Just because they are busy does not mean they are not missing you. Not only do they not have you, but they also do not have their house, bed, family, or even their own country at times!

10. If you have children, be prepared to become both parents 

I, personally, do not have children. However, growing up in a military family, I had my mother play my father role. It is scary but it is possible. Do not expect to be perfect.

11. Be flexible 

When I first started this journey, I thought, "It is the military, when they said he will be home at 6:00 pm, he will be home EXACTLY 6:00 pm!" I could not have been more wrong. FLEXIBILITY IS KEY!

12. The military isn't closed for the holidays

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They will not be home for every holiday, every birthday, or every plan. Plans are made to be changed. Nobody can control the military or its timing. Be prepared to have Christmas in January.

13. Be proud of them 

What they are doing is not easy. It is scary, stressful, exhausting, and time-consuming. They are doing it because they care. Show how proud you are of them.

14. Hug them...all the time

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Appreciate the time you have together. It means the world to both of you.

15. Send packages, letters, texts, ANYTHING

They are looking forward to what you have to say. After their long day, they want to see your texts and packages. Make their job a little more tolerable.

Good Luck, fellow MILSOs! YOU GOT THIS

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